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The Beyond Workshop: A Song for Nepal
Photos By Nina & Wes Photography
By L. K. on May 7, 2015 at 5:00 am in
This week we caught wind of The Beyond Workshop, a wedding workshop established by husband-and-wife photography duo Nina and Wes with a heartfelt mission to give back. All of the profits from this workshop go to orphan care and human trafficking interception in Nepal, a place that stole Nina’s heart when she spent four months there doing volunteer work with Kathmandu’s homeless children and elderly women. Now, tragically, there are more urgent needs at hand.
“The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 has shaken us all,” Nina says. “So many of the beautiful places that we visited, and the historic landmarks that we marveled at, have turned to piles of rubble. As far as we know, though, our loved ones and the people we worked with are all safe. Some of them have lost their homes, but they have escaped the natural disaster without injury. For that, we are thankful.”
Today, she and Wes have shared images from their Nepalese shoot—a photographic paean that depicts a warm, vibrant country full of inviting beauty—to raise awareness about the tragedy, which has now claimed more than 7,500 lives and displaced 2.8 million people. The main building of Nagarkot’s Fort Resort, where this shoot took place, was leveled by the quake. The destruction has, in some way, affected nearly all of the country’s souls.
“If you are interested in supporting the relief efforts that are occurring on the ground in Nepal, there are many amazing organizations that work tirelessly with the people there, providing not only aid right now but also long-term care after many other relief groups have returned home,” Nina says.
Read on to see Nepal through Nina and Wes’ lens and to learn how you can support relief efforts.
This bridal session was born out of our time spent in Nepal. We wanted people to be able to experience Nepal through the different elements of the session. We had a spread of spices that are found throughout Nepal and used in many Nepalese dishes. Bits of copper and brass were found and purchased in the streets of Kathmandu. Marigolds were central to the shoot, as you can see marigolds on any given street in Nepal. We loved seeing them draped over the bride, who wore a stunning Carol Hannah dress that seemed to sparkle in the Nepali sunlight.
Just before Wes and I married, I lived in Kathmandu for four months, doing volunteer work with street children and elderly women. I grew to love Nepal greatly, and I have ached to return ever since. As a wedding photographer, it is easy to get swept away in all the pretty details and amazing people we meet as we capture one of the most special days of their lives on film. But my heart has always been happiest when working to make a difference in the lives of others, which always seems to do the same in my own life.
About 20 months ago, I woke up with an idea about a special kind of photography workshop. I wanted to go beyond business and do something more in the world, something that would have a lasting impact. Most photography workshops focus mainly on building photographers’ portfolios and growing their businesses, which is great and needed. But it can get competitive, causing you to lose sight of what is really important in this world—loving others and giving back what we have been given. The Beyond Workshop encourages photographers to focus on not only being successful but also giving back to those in need. We are asking the question, “What is the meaning of success?” Is it more money, more bookings, and bigger houses? Or is it doing your absolute best at what you do and taking that and giving back to the world that has given so much to you?
One hundred percent of the profits from this workshop go to orphan care and human trafficking interception in Nepal. None of the vendors take any pay, and this year we were able to give almost $8,000 to those in need in Nepal! The first half of the workshop is spent in classroom sessions centered around business, and the second half of the workshop is spent doing volunteer work in Nepal. We had an amazing group of people this year who gave everything they could to help this workshop succeed. Each attendee had their own part to play, and as the days unfolded, it was a joy to see each one of them fall in love with the country of Nepal.
The earthquake that occurred on April 25 in Nepal has shaken us all. So many of the beautiful places that we visited, and the historic landmarks that we marveled at, have turned to piles of rubble. As far as we know, though, our loved ones and the people we worked with are all safe. Some of them have lost their homes, but they escaped the natural disaster without injury. For that, we are thankful.
Through sharing images of this beautiful bridal session, we hope to remind people of the beauty of Nepal, not the poverty. Nepal is a country rich in history, and the people of Nepal are full of warmth and kindness. Walk down any street in this enchanting country and strike up a conversation with someone; you might just find that you are invited in for some milk tea.
Some of the industry vendors who donated time or goods to help make our nonprofit workshop succeed include Magnolia Rouge, Jose Villa, Wildgrace Workshop, Paper Birch Designs, Julie Song Ink, Brown Linen Design, Kraft & Jute, Mrs. Box, Frou Frou Chic, Type A Society, Richard Photo Lab, State Film Lab, Goodman Film Lab, Carol Hannah, Gossamer Vintage, and Jacob Cecil.
A special thanks to our Nepali brother Gautam Rai, who made this workshop truly possible by arranging all of our lodging, meals, and volunteer opportunities. He was our translator throughout our time there, and he also helped our attendees see the importance of documenting the joy and warmth of the people of Nepal over the poverty of Nepal. He and his wife, Rekha, have three biological children and 11 adopted children. They have devoted their lives to orphan care, and every day they meet the needs of many others with what little they have. Since the earthquake, Gautam has been out in the streets from morning to night helping others. He and his family are a beautiful example of love in action.
If you are interested in supporting the relief efforts that are occurring on the ground in Nepal, there are many amazing organizations that work tirelessly with the people there, providing not only aid right now but also long-term care after many other relief groups have returned home.
Sharing is Happiness
Photography > Nina & wes photography
Event Design and Planning > abany bauer
Videography > colletta films
Location > the fort resort
Flowers > type a society
Bride’s Dress > carol hannah
Hair > heather leigh artistry
Makeup > heather leigh artistry
Jewelry > mickey lynn
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What's Being Said
Andreina - Fly Away Bride, May 12, 2015 at 10:56 am
This is so lovely and I'm speechless! :( <3
Angelica, May 8, 2015 at 6:14 pm
Not only are these images stunning and full of beauty, but the heart behind this workshop is the most inspiring part of all!
Aimee, May 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm
My heart has been hurting for Nepal over the last 10 days. Most of the pictures the media offers are sheer devastation. Thank you for your timely blog and BEAUTIFUL photos that remind us of Nepal's wonder and a people who deserve dignity when capturing their image. Well done Nina and Wes!!
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